Exodus 14:24
And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked to the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
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(24) In the morning watch.—Between 2 a.m. and 6.

Exodus 14:24. The Lord — Called the angel before; looked unto the host of the Egyptians — He looked upon them in anger, Psalm 104:32. He visited them with marks of his displeasure, and troubled the Egyptians with terrible winds, lightnings, and thunders, Exodus 15:10; Psalm 77:18-19; also, with terror of mind. Through the pillar of fire and of the cloud — It seems not improbable but that, whereas the cloudy part of the pillar had been toward the Egyptians hitherto, it now turned the other side toward them, and confounded them with showing them their situation.14:21-31 The dividing the Red sea was the terror of the Canaanites, Jos 2:9; the praise and triumph of the Israelites, Ps 114:3; 106:9; 136:13. It was a type of baptism, 1Co 10:1,2. Israel's passage through it was typical of the conversion of souls, Isa 11:15; and the Egyptians being drowned in it was typical of the final ruin of all unrepenting sinners. God showed his almighty power, by opening a passage through the waters, some miles over. God can bring his people through the greatest difficulties, and force a way where he does not find it. It was an instance of his wonderful favour to his Israel. They went through the sea, they walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea. This was done, in order to encourage God's people in all ages to trust him in the greatest straits. What cannot he do who did this? What will not he do for those that fear and love him, who did this for these murmuring, unbelieving Israelites? Then followed the just and righteous wrath of God upon his and his people's enemies. The ruin of sinners is brought on by their own rage and presumption. They might have let Israel alone, and would not; now they would flee from the face of Israel, and cannot. Men will not be convinced, till it is too late, that those who meddle with God's people, meddle to their own hurt. Moses was ordered to stretch out his hand over the sea; the waters returned, and overwhelmed all the host of the Egyptians. Pharaoh and his servants, who had hardened one another in sin, now fell together, not one escaped. The Israelites saw the Egyptians dead upon the sands. The sight very much affected them. While men see God's works, and feel the benefit, they fear him and trust in him. How well were it for us, if we were always in as good a frame as sometimes! Behold the end to which a Christian may look forward. His enemies rage, and are mighty; but while he holds fast by God, he shall pass the waves in safety guarded by that very power of his Saviour, which shall come down on every spiritual foe. The enemies of his soul whom he hath seen to-day, he shall see no more for ever.In the morning watch - At sunrise, a little before 6 a.m.in April.

Troubled - By a sudden panic.

24, 25. Lord looked … through … the cloud, and troubled them—We suppose the fact to have been that the side of the pillar of cloud towards the Egyptians was suddenly, and for a few moments, illuminated with a blaze of light, which, coming as it were in a refulgent flash upon the dense darkness which had preceded, so frightened the horses of the pursuers that they rushed confusedly together and became unmanageable. "Let us flee," was the cry that resounded through the broken and trembling ranks, but it was too late; all attempts at flight were vain [Bush]. The night was anciently divided, not by hours, as now it is, but by watches, which sometimes were accounted four, and sometimes but three; howsoever the last of them was called the morning watch. Then when they hoped for most advantage in the pursuit, they met with their greatest disaster.

The Lord; called the Angel of God, Exodus 14:19. By which promiscuous use of these titles it sufficiently appears that this was no ordinary angel, but the Son of God.

The Lord looked with an eye of indignation and vengeance, (as that phrase is used, Job 40:12 see also Amos 9:4), and troubled them with most terrible and prodigious winds, and rains, and lightnings, and both claps and bolts of thunder, as may be gathered from Exodus 15:10 Psalm 77:18,19; and, as some ancient historians relate, with terrors also in their minds, &c. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch,.... The Romans divided the night into four watches, so the Hebrews; though some say into three only. The first began at six o'clock, and lasted till nine, the second was from thence to twelve, the third from thence to three in the morning, and the last from three to six, which is here called the morning watch; so that this was some time between three and six o'clock in the morning:

the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians, through the pillar of fire and of the cloud; the Angel of the Lord, and who was Jehovah himself, who was in it, he looked to the army of the Egyptians; not to know whereabout they were, he being the omniscient God; nor in a friendly manner, but as an enemy, with indignation and wrath. The Targum of Jonathan is,"he looked through the pillar of fire, to cast upon them coals of fire, and through the pillar of cloud, to cast upon them hailstones.''The Jerusalem Targum is,"pitch, fire, and hailstones;''and Josephus (q) speaks of storms and tempests, of thunder and lightning, and of thunderbolts out of the clouds; and Artapanus (r) of fire or lightning flashing out against them, by which many perished. Perhaps the psalmist may have reference to this in Psalm 106:10.

and troubled the host of the Egyptians; the thunder and lightning no doubt frightened the horses, so that they broke their ranks, and horsemen and chariots might run foul on one another, and the hailstones scatter and destroy many; however, the whole must be terrible and distressing to them, especially it being in the night season.

(q) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 2. c. 16. sect. 2.) (r) Apud Euseb. ut supra. (Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 27. p. 436.)

And it came to pass, that in the morning {l} watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,

(l) Which was about the last three hours of the night.

24. the morning watch] The Hebrews divided the night into three ‘watches,’ each of about four hours, the ‘morning watch’ (also Exo 1 Samuel 11:11) would be from about 2 to 6 a.m.; the ‘middle watch’ is mentioned in Jdg 7:19. Cf. Luke 12:38. In the NT., however, the Roman division into four watches is also followed, Matthew 14:25 = Mark 6:48; cf. Mark 13:35.

looked forth] Notice the graphic anthropomorphism. Perhaps the idea is, with fiery flashes, startling the Egyptians, and throwing them into a panic. The author of Psalm 77:17-19 pictured torrents of rain, with brilliant lightnings and loud thunder (cf. Psalm 81:7), as accompanying the passage of the Red Sea: Jos. Ant. ii. 16. 3 describes it similarly.

host (twice)] Heb. camp, as v. 20. Not the word (ḥayil) rendered ‘host’ in vv. 4, 17, 28, and ‘army’ in v. 9.

discomfited] i.e. threw into panic or confusion: Exodus 23:27, Deuteronomy 2:15; Deuteronomy 7:23, Joshua 10:10 al.

24, 25. Premonitory warnings of the disaster about to fall upon the Egyptians.Verse 24. - In the morning watch. The "morning watch" of the Hebrews at this period of their history lasted from 2 a.m. to sunrise. Sunrise in Egypt, early in April, would take place about a quarter to six. The Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians. The description in Psalm 77:17, 18, is generally regarded as belonging to this point in the narrative of the Exodus, and may be considered as the traditional exposition of it. "The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound; thine arrows also went abroad; the voice of thy thunder was in the heavens; the lightning lightened the world; the earth trembled and shook." As Josephus says "Showers of rain came down from the sky, and dreadful thunders and lightning, with flashes of fire; thunderbolts also were darted upon them; nor was there anything, wont to be sent by God upon men as indications of his wrath, which did not happen upon this occasion" (Ant. Jud. 2:16, § 3). And troubled the host. Or "disturbed the host," i.e.," threw it into confusion.(συνετάραξε, LXX.). The words of Jehovah to Moses, "What criest thou to Me?" imply that Moses had appealed to God for help, or laid the complaints of the people before Him, and do not convey any reproof, but merely an admonition to resolute action. The people were to move forward, and Moses was to stretch out his hand with his staff over the sea and divide it, so that the people might go through the midst on dry ground. Exodus 14:17 and Exodus 14:18 repeat the promise in Exodus 14:3, Exodus 14:4. The command and promise were followed by immediate help (Exodus 14:19-29). Whilst Moses divided the water with his staff, and thus prepared the way, the angel of God removed from before the Israelites, and placed himself behind them as a defence against the Egyptians, who were following them. "Upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen" (Exodus 14:17), is in apposition to "all his host;" as Pharaoh's army consisted entirely of chariots and horsemen (cf. Exodus 14:18).
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